Not so lovely fair trade

  • 29/04/2008

After travelling in Himachal Pradesh to visit friends, I had an idea to export wild mushrooms to the uk. Not really crazy when you consider how much Europeans love their wild mushrooms and how abundantly they grow in Himachal.

I have always believed in fair trade. Apart from being good morally, it generates stronger business relationships. A reputed fair trade firm in Europe agreed that if I could set up a fair trade in organically certified supply of wild mushrooms from India, it would place some large orders. It even helped me secure an interest-free loan.

There were initial hiccups. People couldn't help laughing that someone would actually consider cutting out the middleman and then offer to pay at least 10 per cent more than the going rate. But slowly things started to fall in place.I set up a processing unit at the heart of the place where a wild variety of mushroom (morel, local name

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